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Deal on women, children in besieged Syrian city

Updated: 2014-01-27 14:29:56 (KST)
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The Syrian government and the opposition Syrian National Coalition struck their first, yet small agreement on the second day of their international peace talks in Geneva.
Under the deal, women and children will be allowed to leave the besieged city of Homs.

"Hopefully, starting tomorrow women and children will be able to leave the old city in Homs."

Homs is a key battleground in the conflict with government forces pinning down rebels and civilians with heavy mortar attacks for more than one year.
The two sides failed to reach common ground on sending humanitarian aid into Homs on Saturday, but UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who is acting as mediator between two sides, has admitted progress was always going to be slow.
The core objective of the talks come on Monday as the two sides will begin to discuss political matters, and specificially, the establishment of a transitional government.
Any transitional government would require President Bashar al-Assad to cede power, a condition the Syrian government refuses to accept.
Syria's deputy foreign minister forced the government's position home on Sunday, saying Assad will remain in his post and continue to win elections.
The opposition says the regime is stalling and said Monday's talks with Brahimi will show whether the government is willing to negotiate.

"Tomorrow we start talking about transition from dictatorship to democracy. Clearly the regime is not enthusiastic to talk about that. They are stalling."

The Geneva meeting marks the first time in almost three years that the Syrian government and the main opposition group have held face-to-face talks aimed at ending the bitter civil war.
It's estimated that more than 130-thousand people have been killed in Syria since parts of the country rose up against President Assad in March 2011.
Connie Kim, Arirang News.


Reporter : connie1223@arirang.co.kr

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